(HorizonPost.com) – On Monday, the Brazilian government began expelling thousands of non-indigenous settlers from two native territories in the Amazon rainforest, the Associated Press reported.
Brazil’s intelligence agency ABIN said in a statement that the expulsions are aimed at returning Apyterewa and Trincheira Bacaja lands to the indigenous people.
The two native territories are located in Para state around the municipalities of Altamira, Anapu, Sao Felix do Xingu, and Senador Jose Porfirio. The expulsion operation was ordered by Brazil’s Supreme Court and other judges, the government said.
It is estimated that over 10,000 non-indigenous people are residing within the two territories. According to ABIN, the total indigenous population is around 2,500 people living in 51 separate villages within the two territories.
The government has stated that non-indigenous people threaten the environment of indigenous lands and the “integrity” of the indigenous people.
According to ABIN, around 1,600 non-indigenous families living in the region have been involved in illegal activities like gold mining and raising cattle.
Also participating in Monday’s action were officials from Brazil’s Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, members of the federal police and military, and Brazil’s environmental protection agency IBAMA.
During former President Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency, many of these agencies were largely neutered and did little to protect native lands.
After taking office last year, Bolsonaro’s successor President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva started rebuilding environmental agencies and established eight protected areas for native people. In February, the Brazilian government expelled thousands of gold miners from Yanomani lands in northern Brazil.
In June, authorities sought to expel settlers from the Alto Rio Guama indigenous territory, threatening them with forcible expulsion if they refused to leave. Government officials also pledged to eliminate all irregular installations and access to roads. As a result of the threats, nearly all of the illegal settlers left voluntarily.
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